The focus of our efforts in pursuit of majority rule in southern Africa has now turned to Namibia. Negotiations are proceeding among concerned parties under the leadership of U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. This should lead to implementation of the U.N. plan for self-determination and independence for Namibia during 1981. If these negotiations are successfully concluded, sixty-five years of uncertainty over the status of the territory, including a seven-year-long war, will be ended.
In response to our active concern with issues of importance to Africans, African states have cooperated with us on issues of importance to our national interests. African states voted overwhelmingly in favor of the U.N. Resolution calling for release of the hostages, and for the U.N. Resolution condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Two countries of Africa have signed access agreements with the U.S. allowing us use of naval and air facilities in the Indian Ocean.
Africans have become increasingly vocal on human rights. African leaders have spoken out on the issue of political prisoners, and the OAU is drafting its own Charter on Human Rights. Three countries in Africa— Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda—have returned to civilian rule during the past year.
U.S. cooperation with Africa on all these matters represents a strong base on which we can build in future years.
Liberia is a country of long-standing ties with the U.S. and the site of considerable U.S. investment and facilities. This past April a coup replaced the government and a period of political and economic uncertainty ensued. The U.S. acted swiftly to meet this situation. We, together with African leaders, urged the release of political prisoners, and many have been released; we provided emergency economic assistance to help avoid economic collapse, and helped to involve the IMF and the banking community to bring about economic stability; and we have worked closely with the new leaders to maintain Liberia’s strong ties with the West and to protect America’s vital interests.
In early 1979, following a Libyan-inspired commando attack on a Tunisian provincial city, the U.S. responded promptly to Tunisia’s urgent request for assistance, both by airlifting needed military equipment and by making clear our longstanding interest in the security and integrity of this friendly country. The U.S. remains determined to oppose other irresponsible Libyan aspirations. Despairing of a productive dialogue with the Libyan authorities, the U.S. closed down its embassy in Libya and later expelled six Libyan diplomats in Washington in order to deter an intimidation campaign against Libyan citizens in the U.S.
U.S. relations with Algeria have improved, and Algeria has played an indispensable and effective role as intermediary between Iran and the U.S. over the hostage issue.